Over the last couple of days, I have been traveling back and forth between my children’s home and Baptist Hospital in Pensacola to visit my daughter, her husband, and new granddaughter. If you read my previous post, you know that Lily was born on Tuesday — the same day as the devastating tornado that hit just a short distance from their home. As we drove through the area trying to avoid the neighborhoods most affected, my wife and I wished for our yellow shirts and Disaster Relief credentials and had to remind ourselves that we couldn’t self-deploy anyway. But we have been amazed by the sight of people helping people. Some have been total strangers just stopping to lend a hand. Others have been friends and neighbors who realize that in a time like this, you can’t just do nothing. Some anonymous person stopped by and cut up the tree that almost hit my truck. The churches have been busy, too, as they have embraced the call to be the hands and feet of Christ. What joyous shouts must be echoing in heaven as God’s people do what God’s people are supposed to do! If just a cup of cold water given in Jesus’ name reaps a prophet’s reward, I wonder what a chainsaw team must get. Or how about those people we saw helping a family carry all of their possessions out of what was left of their home. No, they aren’t in it for the reward — in fact, I believe that selfish motivations would preclude them from receiving even an “attaboy” from Jesus.
Jesus taught His disciples that we should do things for people who couldn’t repay us in kind. The idea is that we should minister freely, offering ourselves sacrificially so that we can demonstrate the love of God. In doing so, we are planting seeds for the gospel — seeds that will be nurtured through the testimonies of Christian men and women who will share the reason for the hope that is within them. And eventually, some of those seeds will grow and flourish and souls will be won to the Kingdom. Beauty from ashes. I just can’t wait to hear about how God takes this tragic event and turns it into something beautiful.